The Duchess of Malfi All Brief with Solutions

Q.1. Who is Delio?

Ans. Delio is a courtier, who tries to woo Julia. Based on a historical character of the same name, his purpose is to be the sounding board for his friend Antonio. He acts as a narrator and is privy to the secrets of Antonio’s marriage and children.

Q.2. Who is Bosola?

Ans. Bosola is the villain in The Duchess of Malfi.

Q.3. What kind of man is Bosola? 

Ans. Bosola is a lustful, greedy, proud, bloody and spiteful man.

Q.4. On whom is the character of Bosola based? 

Ans. The character of Bosola is based on the historical Daniele de Bozolo. 

Q.5. Who is Ferdinand?

Ans. Ferdinand was the Duke of Calabria and twin brother of the Duchess.

Q.6. Who is the Duchess?

Ans. She is the protagonist, sister to Ferdinand and the Cardinal.

Q.7. Who is Julia?

Ans. Julia is Castruccio’s wife and the Cardinal’s mistress.

Q.8. How does Julia die? 

Ans: Julia dies at the Cardinal’s hands from a poisoned Bible.

Q.9. What is Malfi? 

Ans. Malfi is a dukedom in Italy. 

Q.10. Whom do the madmen include?

Ans. The madmen include: the Mad Astronomer, who lost his mind when his prediction of the apocalypse proved incorrect: the Mad Doctor, who lost his mind due to jealousy; the Mad Priest, and

the Mad Lawyer. 

Q.11. Who is the Cardinal?

Ans. The Duchess and Ferdinand’s elder brother, the Cardinal of Aragon represents cold and calculated evil in contrast to his hot- tempered brother. He is a Machiavellian character, using the power of his position to torture and counter the Duchess. Ultimately, he loses his ability to control events, and he is killed by Bosola.

Q.12. Who is Antonio?

Ans. Antonio Bologna is the steward of the Duchess’s household. She falls in love with him and they secretly wed, managing to keep this hidden from her brothers and Bosola. 

Q.13. How does Cariola die?

Ans. Cariola dies tragically by strangling following the murder of the Duchess and the youngest children.

Q.14. Who is Julia?

Ans. Julia is the Cardinal’s mistress and Castruccio’s wife. She is also wooed by Delio and later falls in love with Bosola. Bosola uses her as an unwitting tool to force a confession for the Duchess’s death from the Cardinal, after which the Cardinal poisons her.

Q.15. Who is Castruccio?

Ans. Castruccio is a courtier under Ferdinand, and Julia’s older husband. He represents the cuckolded fool.

Q.16. To which did Antonio compare a king’s court?

Ans. Antonio compares a king’s court to a fountain. 

Q.17. What did Bosola do for the Cardinal? 

Ans. Bosola committed a notorious murder, and the rumour that the Cardinal did indeed commission him to do it.

Q.18. To what does Bosola compare the Cardinal and Ferdinand? 

Ans: Bosola compares the two brothers to plum trees that grow bending over some pools.

Q.19. Who was Tantalus? 

Ans. In Greek mythology, Tantalus was the king of Lydia, who was punished for betraying the secrets of the gods by being immersed in water up to his chin.

Q.20. How is the fate of Bosola similar to that of Tantalus? 

Ans. Tantalus is a man entertaining a hope that remains unfulfilled forever. Similarly, Bosola’s desire of getting reward from the Cardinal remains unfulfilled. So, Bosola’s fate is similar to that of Tantalus. 

Q.21. Who was Ismail?

Ans. Ismail was the son of Abraham and the maid-servant Hagar. At the age of fifteen he was cast out of Abraham’s household,

Q.22. What sort of person/ruler is Ferdinand? 

Ans. Ferdinand is a corrupt person or ruler. He pretends to sleep in the law court so that offenders may become careless in their statements. If the offenders commit careless mistakes in their statements, he takes the chance to punish them.

Q.23. Who was the Duke of Calabria?

Ans. Ferdinand was the Duke of Calabria. 

Q.24. Who is a melancholy church official in The Duchess of Malfi?

Ans. The Cardinal is a melancholy church official in The Duchess of Malfi.

Q.25. Why could not the Cardinal rise to the position of a Pope? 

Ans. Instead of rising to the position of a Pope through virtuous living, he used bribery as his means of rising up. So, he did not get his office.

Q.26. Why does Ferdinand offer gold to Bosola?

Ans. Ferdinand offers gold to Bosola to carry out his orders, to do what he wants him to do. 

Q.27. Why does Bosola refuse to take the gold coins offered to Ferdinand?

Ans. Bosola refused to take the gold coins offered by Ferdinand because if he took the gold coins he had to do some devilish deed. 

Q.28. What reasons do Ferdinand and the Cardinal put forth against the Duchess’s second marriage?

Ans. The reasons Ferdinand and the Cardinal put forth against the Duchess’s second marriage are,

I) She is a widow.

(ii) She is of royal blood and has a duty to her rank.

(iii) The second marriage expresses a lecherous nature.

Q.29. Why does Ferdinand compare the Duchess’s court to a pasture land?

Ans. Ferdinand compares the Duchess’s court to a pasture land because the atmosphere of her court is full of temptation and there are many opportunities for sex indulgences. 

Q.30. Why does Ferdinand show the Duchess his father’s dagger?

Ans. Ferdinand shows the Duchess his father’s dagger in order to threat her that he will use it if she does not keep her lust under control.

Q.31. On what pretext does the Duchess give Antonio her wedding ring?

Ans. The Duchess says that one of Antonio’s eyes appears to be sore. She gives him her ring and says that the ring is a very effective remedy for sore eyes.

Q.32. What had the Duchess vowed about the ring? 

Ans. The Duchess had taken a vow never to give the ring to anybody except to her second husband.

Q.33. Why, according to the Duchess, high born ladies are in an unfortunate position?

Ans. The Duchess tells Antonio that high born ladies are in an unfortunate position in the matter of love making because they do have freedom of making love to anybody as the common people have. Society imposes upon them many restrictions which they cannot violate. 

Q.34. Why is the Duchess forced to take the initiative in courting?

Ans. The Duchess is forced to take the initiative in courting because an ordinary man cannot venture to woo a lady of high status.

Q.35. How does Bosola satirize ladies’ fondness for cosmetics? 

Ans. Seeing an old lady Bosola satirizes ladies’ fondness for cosmetics. He compares their toilet rooms to that of a witch because just as the witches use various kinds of foul and poisonous substance such as serpents’ fat, snakes’ eggs, saliva of Jews and the dung of their children etc so also ladies of fashion use various kinds of dirty and foul substance such as rouge, cream, plaster etc as cosmetics.

Q.36. How does Bosola become sure that the Duchess is pregnant?

Ans. When Bosola gives her some apricots, she eats them very greedily. The Duchess just finished the apricots, and they are making her stomach feel uneasy. It makes her feel sick. This shows that the Duchess is pregnant.

Q.37. What is apricot? 

Ans. Apricot is a sort of fruit.

Q.38. How does Bosola get the horoscope of the child?

Ans. After Bosola and Antonio fight, Antonio flees, dropping the horoscope of the child by mistake and Bosola gets it. 

Q.39. How many children did the Duchess give birth to?

Ans. The Duchess gave birth to three children, two sons and a daughter. 

Q.40. How does Ferdinand react at the news of the Duchess’ childbirth?

Ans. At the news of the Duchess’ childbirth, Ferdinand grows crazy with anger and shouts out his anger in spite of the Cardinal’s advice to show restraint. Further he curses the Duchess brashly describing her as a strumpet.

Q.41. Why can’t Ferdinand identify the Duchess’s husband overhearing her talking?

Ans. Ferdinand cannot identify the Duchess’s husband because in her talking she does not mention the name of her husband. 

Q.42. On what ground does the Duchess dismiss Antonio from her service?

Ans. The Duchess dismisses Antonio on the ground that Antonio has falsified her accounts and failed to repay a loan which she had taken from some Jews at Naples. 

Q.43. Why does the Duchess reveal the identity of her husband to Bosola? how

Ans. As Bosola praises Antonio, she trusts him and as a result she tells him that Antonio is the father of her three children. 

Q.44. What is Lady of Loretto? 

Ans. Loretto is a place fifteen miles away from Ancona. There is a relic, the Holy House, believed to be that of Virgin Mary.

Q.45. Whom did Antonio take with him when he fled to Milan?

Ans. When Antonio fled to Milan, he took his eldest son with him.

Q.46. Who arrests the Duchess? 

Ans. Bosola arrests the Duchess in disguise, wearing a mask on his face.

Q.47. Where does Bosola take the Duchess after arresting her?

Ans. After arresting her, Bosola takes her to her palace.

Q.48. What makes the Duchess think that Antonio and the children are dead? 

Ans. After Ferdinand leaves, the Duchess sees the wax figures behind a curtain that appear to her to be Antonio and the children dead. 

Q.49. Who has made the wax figures of Antonio and his children?

Ans. Vincentio Lauriola has made the wax figures of Antonio and his children. 

Q.50. How many madmen does Ferdinand send to the Duchess?

Ans. Ferdinand sends eight madmen to the Duchess.

Q.51. How do the madmen torture the Duchess? 

Ans. The madmen torture the Duchess by singing and dialoguing. 

Q.52. What excuses does Cariola make to save her life? 

Ans. To save her life, Cariola makes three excuses:

(a) She is betrothed to a young gentleman and has to get married to him.

(b) She has not confessed her sins to any priest for the last two years. 

(c) She is pregnant.

Q.53. Where is the Duchess buried?

Ans. The Duchess is buried next to the Cardinal’s house.

Q.54. Who stabs Antonio? 

Ans. Bosola stabs Antonio,

Q.55. Why does Bosola stab Antonio? 

Ans. Bosola wants to kill the Cardinal. But he stabs Antonio, taking him for the Cardinal.

Q.56. Mention the literary period of John Webster. 

Ans. Jacobean Period 

Q.57. Who is Cariola?

Ans. Cariola is the Duchess’s maid and confidant.

Q.58. What is Ancona?

Ans. Ancona is a city state in Italy.

Q.59. Who witnesses the Duchess’ remarriage?

Ans. Cariola, the Duchess’s waiting-woman and privy to her secrets, witnesses the Duchess’s remarriage. 

Q.60. What was the parting request from the Duchess to cariola? 

Ans. When she is going to be strangled, the Duchess requests Cariola to take care of her children. The Duchess tells her that it is Cariola’s duty to look after her children, to take care of her boy’s cold by some syrup and to teach the girl to say her prayer before she goes to sleep.

Q.61. What kind of play is “The Duchess of Malfi”? 

Ans. The Duchess of Malfi is a tragedy.

Q.62. What is the original name of the play “The Duchess of Malli

Ans. The original name of The Duchess of Malfi is The Tragedy the Dutchesse of Malfy.

Q.63.  What was the name of the Cardinal historically?

Ans. Historically, the name of the Cardinal was Luigi or Lodovico.

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

Hi, This is Rashedul. Researcher and lecturer of English literature and Linguistics.

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